Parental Child Abduction and Parental alienation Syndrome PAS

February 28, 2013

Source: Socialworktoday

Eight Manifestations of Parental Alienation Syndrome

1. A Campaign of Denigration
Alienated children are consumed with hatred of the targeted parent. They deny any positive past experiences and reject all contact and communication. Parents who were once loved and valued seemingly overnight become hated and feared.

2. Weak, Frivolous, and Absurd Rationalizations
When alienated children are questioned about the reasons for their intense hostility toward the targeted parent, the explanations offered are not of the magnitude that typically would lead a child to reject a parent. These children may complain about the parent’s eating habits, food preparation, or appearance. They may also make wild accusations that could not possibly be true.


3. Lack of Ambivalence About the Alienating Parent
Alienated children exhibit a lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support. That parent is perceived as perfect, while the other is perceived as wholly flawed. If an alienated child is asked to identify just one negative aspect of the alienating parent, he or she will probably draw a complete blank. This presentation is in contrast to the fact that most children have mixed feelings about even the best of parents and can usually talk about each parent as having both good and bad qualities.

4. The “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon
Even though alienated children appear to be unduly influenced by the alienating parent, they will adamantly insist that the decision to reject the targeted parent is theirs alone. They deny that their feelings about the targeted parent are in any way influenced by the alienating parent and often invoke the concept of free will to describe their decision.

5. Absence of Guilt About the Treatment of the Targeted Parent 
Alienated children typically appear rude, ungrateful, spiteful, and cold toward the targeted parent, and they appear to be impervious to feelings of guilt about their harsh treatment. Gratitude for gifts, favors, or child support provided by the targeted parent is nonexistent. Children with parental alienation syndrome will try to get whatever they can from that parent, declaring that it is owed to them.

6. Reflexive Support for the Alienating Parent in Parental Conflict 
Intact families, as well as recently separated and long-divorced couples, will have occasion for disagreement and conflict. In all cases, the alienated child will side with the alienating parent, regardless of how absurd or baseless that parent’s position may be. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with interparental conflicts. Children with parental alienation syndrome have no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view. Nothing the targeted parent could do or say makes any difference to these children.

7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios 
Alienated children often make accusations toward the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted from the alienating parent. Indications that a scenario is borrowed include the use of words or ideas that the child does not appear to understand, speaking in a scripted or robotic fashion, as well as making accusations that cannot be supported with detail.

8. Rejection of Extended Family
Finally, the hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are suddenly and completely avoided and rejected.

In a recent study (Baker & Darnall, 2007), targeted parents rated their children as experiencing these eight behavioral manifestations in a way that was generally consistent with Gardner’s theory. Parents reported that their children exhibited the eight behaviors with a high degree of frequency. One exception was alienated children being able to maintain a relationship with some members of the targeted parent’s extended family, which occurred in cases where that relative was actually aligned with the alienating parent. This suggests that the context of the contact with the targeted parent’s extended family (that relative’s role in the alienation) needs to be understood prior to concluding whether this component is present in the child.


Study of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Gardner identified parental alienation syndrome only 20 years ago. However, researchers and clinicians have been concerned about these cross-generational alliances for much longer. For example, divorce researchers such as Wallerstein and colleagues (2001) have noted that some children develop unhealthy alliances with one parent while rejecting the other. Family therapists have observed that, when a child is “taller” than a parent (i.e., able to look down on), it is usually because he or she is standing on the shoulders of the other parent (i.e., being supported by).

Although this problem has long been of concern to mental health practitioners, little research has been conducted on the specific problem of children rejecting one parent due to the overt or covert influence of the other. In contrast to the dearth of research, demand for knowledge about parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome is overwhelming. There are several Web sites devoted to this problem, many of which receive tens of thousands of visits each year. The few books on divorce that discuss this problem are best sellers, and there are several Internet chat groups comprised of anxious parents who fear that the other parent of their child is turning their child against them. Saddest of all are the parents who have already lost their child to parental alienation syndrome and want to know whether they will ever get the child back.

This is the question that guided the current study on parental alienation syndrome of adults who as children had been turned against one parent by their other parent (Baker, 2007). In order to participate in the study, the individuals needed to have been alienated from one parent as a child and had to believe that the alienation was at least in part due to the actions and attitudes of the other parent. Forty adults participated in in-depth, semistructured telephone interviews. A content analysis was conducted. Some of the major themes and research findings relevant to the work of social workers are the following:


Different Familial Contexts
Parental alienation syndrome can occur in intact families, as well as divorced families, and can be fostered by fathers, mothers, and noncustodial and custodial parents. The prototypical case is a bitter ex-wife turning the children against the father in response to postdivorce custody litigation. That is one but not the only pattern. Mental health professionals should be aware that other familial contexts exist within which parental alienation syndrome can occur so as to avoid ruling out parental alienation syndrome as an explanation because the family context does not fit the prototype.

Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Abuse
Many of the interviewees revealed that the alienating parent had emotionally, physically, or sexually abused them. These data should help put to rest the prevailing notion that all children (in their naive wisdom) will ally themselves with the parent better able to attend to their needs. The people interviewed appeared to side with the parent on whom they had become dependent and whose approval they were most afraid of losing, not the parent who was most sensitive or capable.

Apparent Psychopathology
A related finding is that many of the alienating parents appeared to have features of narcissistic and/or have a borderline or antisocial personality disorder, as well as being active alcoholics. Thus, social workers providing individual therapy with a client who may have been alienated from one parent by the other should be aware of the importance of exploring these other abuse and trauma factors in the client’s early history.

Cult Parallels
Cults offer a useful heuristic for understanding parental alienation syndrome. Alienating parents appear to use many emotional manipulation and thought reform strategies that cult leaders use. Awareness of this analogy can help individuals who experienced parental alienation syndrome (and their therapists) understand how they came to ally with a parent who was ultimately abusive and damaging. The analogy is also helpful for understanding the recovery and healing process.

The research and clinical literature on recovery from cults offers useful ideas for therapists working with adult children of parental alienation syndrome. For example, the way in which a person leaves a cult has ramifications for the recovery process. Cult members can walk away from a cult, be cast out of a cult, or be counseled out of a cult. Those who walk away (come to the realization on their own that the cult is not healthy for them) and those who are counseled out (those who are exposed to a deliberate experience designed to instigate the desire to leave) tend to fare better than those who are cast out (those who are rejected from the cult for failing to meet its regulations and strictures) (Langone, 1994).

Regardless of how the cult is abandoned, leaving represents only the beginning of the recovery process. Considerable time and effort is required (usually in therapy) to process the experience and undo the negative messages from the cult that have become incorporated into the self. The same may be true of adult children of parental alienation syndrome.

Different Pathways to Realization
There appear to be many different pathways to the realization that one has been manipulated by a parent to unnecessarily reject the other parent. Eleven catalysts were described by the interview participants. This represents both good and bad news. The good news is that there are many different ways to evolve from alienation to realization. The bad news is that there is no silver bullet or magic wand to spark that process. For some participants, it was a matter of time and gaining life experience. For others, it was the alienating parent turning on them and, for others, it was becoming a parent and being the target of parental alienation from their own children. For most, the process was just that—a process.


There were a few epiphanies, but most experienced something like a slow chipping away of a long-held belief system, a slow awakening to a different truth and a more authentic self. Most gained self-respect and a connection to reality and were grateful to know “the truth.” At the same time, they acknowledged that this truth was hard won and quite painful. Once they were aware of the parental alienation, they had to come to terms with some painful truths, including that the alienating parent did not have their best interest at heart, that as children they had probably behaved very badly toward someone who did not deserve such treatment, and that they missed out on a relationship that may have had real value and benefit to them.

Long-Term Negative Effects
Not surprisingly, the adult children with parental alienation syndrome believed that this experience had negative long-term consequences for them. Many spoke of suffering from depression, turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, failed relationships and multiple divorces and, most sadly, becoming alienated from their own children later in life. In this way, the intergenerational cycle of parental alienation syndrome was perpetuated.

Wide Range of Alienation Tactics
The adult children with parental alienation syndrome described a range of alienating strategies, including constant badmouthing of the targeted parent, chronic interference with visitation and communication, and emotional manipulation to choose one parent over the other. These same strategies were confirmed in a subsequent study of close to 100 targeted parents (Baker & Darnall, 2006). More than 1,300 specific actions described were independently coded into 66 types, 11 of which were mentioned by at least 20% of the sample. There was considerable but not complete overlap in the strategies identified by the targeted parents with those described by adult children.

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Deputies, DHS worker testify in parental kidnapping case

February 27, 2013


Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputies Mike Hanson and Derrek Wilson testified Tuesday morning, the second day of the trial of Mark McCallum, who is charged with parental kidnapping.

Hanson testified about talking to McCallum’s now ex-wife Sharon Kludy and the search for their two young children who were later found with their father in Key West, Florida.


Wilson testified about searching the couple’s Hamlin Township home, where Mark had been residing prior to his arrest in Florida.

On Monday, the jury was seated and Kludy testified, answering questions from Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola.

McCallum is representing himself.

Later in the day a Department of Human Services employee testified about allegations Mark McCallum made that his wife had been abusing the children, saying the department made no determination of abuse.

The jury is done for the day.

Mark McCallum made a motion to dismiss the case, but 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper denied it.

McCallum’s argument included stating his wife knows one of the deputies and that he turned the rest of law enforcement against him.

“I’m not a crazy person,” McCallum told the court.

More witnesses will be called Wednesday.

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The Most Dangerous Kidnappers: Parents

January 28, 2013

Source: Abcnews

Despite what seems to have been a rash of children abducted by strangers last year, there aren’t any more than normal, and vastly greater numbers of children are kidnapped by their own parents and relatives — and those cases rarely generate headlines.


Stranger abductions make up the smallest percentage of children reported missing every year. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believes that stranger abductions are decreasing overall and projects that there will be approximately 100 of these kind of cases by the end of this year.

According to statistics cited by the NCMEC, most missing children are abducted by relatives or parents: a soon-to-be released report, the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, referred to as NISMART-2, finds that 203,900 kids were abducted in 1999 by family members or parents. Approximately, 58,200 were “non-family” abductions — only 115 were defined as the frightening kidnappings by strangers.

Parental kidnappings do not spark media attention — and the sense of urgency from law enforcement officials — that the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the kidnapping and slaying of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion and this month’s abduction and rescue of two California teenagers attracted.

Experts say there is a perception among the public and law enforcement that children kidnapped by their parents are not endangered. After all, figures from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention show that only 4 percent of children abducted by their parents are physically harmed.

“I think there’s a perception with people that, ‘Oh, since they’re with a parent no harm will come to the child,'” said Nancy Hammer, director of the International Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “And also since it involves two parents and family, it seems to be a messy situation. It doesn’t seem as black and white as if a child was abducted by a stranger. It’s taken a while, but progress has been made in making these abductions crimes, felonies. But they can lack the sense of urgency in the public and law enforcement reserved for other cases.”

A Very Lucky Recovery

Tracy and Robert Morse had to fight those perceptions when their children were abducted. In December 1996, three of Robert Morse’s children from a previous marriage were kidnapped by their biological, non-custodial mother when they got off the bus at school.


“There’s this perception in the public and among law enforcement, that when children are abducted by their parents that they’re safe, and that just isn’t true,” said Tracy Morse, co-founder of American Parental Abductions Resource & Support Organization — APART for short. “These children are separated from everything they know and love, they are forced to live a life of a fugitive, constantly on the run, separated from their identity and their schooling interrupted and often told their left behind parents don’t care about them.

“When my husband’s children were kidnapped by his ex-wife, she pulled up at school and made a big scene at school and everything,” Morse continued. “People who saw her take the children, they just thought, ‘Oh, it’s a domestic thing. We shouldn’t interfere.'”

Tracy and Robert Morse spent more than more than two years trying to find their children and only got a break in their search when the children’s mother remarried and sparked the suspicion of her new in-laws and their relatives. One of her new husband’s relatives went on the Web site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saw the faces of the three children and contacted NCMEC officials. The children were recovered and reunited with the Morses in March 1999.

“The kids were a mess, in really bad shape,” said Tracy Morse. “But we were very, very lucky.”

Following their children’s recovery, the Morses founded APART to give parents a resource to both prepare themselves and their children for family abductions and give them guidance as to what to do during those situations. “Left Behind” parents spent so much time trying to figure out what to do when their children are abducted by an ex-spouse or family member, valuable time is wasted. Abductor parents easily flee amid the confusion and shock.

A Mother’s Desperate 28-Year Quest

One woman who wishes she had the Morses’ good luck and perhaps could have benefited from APART when her son was abducted is Marianne Malky.

Malky, founder of Voice for the Children, a Florida-based organization that helps locate and recover missing children, has been searching for her son David for 28 years. Malky said David, then 7 years old, was taken by his non-custodial father, Stephan Shipenberg, during a court-ordered weekend visit in 1974. Shipenberg, she said, called her and told her that she would never see David again.

Malky, who lived in New Jersey at the time, went to Shipenberg’s job at American Airlines in New York City and was told he had quit. She found out he had moved from his Manhattan apartment and ultimately tracked him and David at a new address as they drove away in a station wagon. As she pounded on the car window, that was the last time she saw her son.


Since then, Malky has had little progress in finding David, and she said she has received little help from law enforcement. She was so anxious to get her son back and track him down that she did not file a missing person’s report in New Jersey when he was first abducted. When she tried to file one year later, she was told too much time had passed.

“There isn’t any finding your kids unless you do everything yourself. You basically have to do everything,” Malky said. “No one [from law enforcement] really wants to get involved. ‘It’s too complicated,’ they say. ‘It’s a domestic problem.’ You’re told you need custody papers or you need to go to an attorney to get custodial papers, but what you need are [private] investigators. Custody papers don’t find missing children; investigators do.”

At one time, she said, she received a tip that David was attending grammar school under another last name “Kaplan” and contacted officials. However, by the time she made it to the school, administrators had contacted Shipenberg and he had retrieved David. She has learned that her son attended middle school and high school in Oyster Bay, N.Y., but she says the schools refused to give her access to his records. She also learned that he was in the Navy, but officials would not release any records because of privacy laws.

“In the United States, it’s very difficult to find them [abducted children and abductor parents] because they change their name,” Malky said. “It’s very difficult if you don’t know what their name is.”

Frustration of ‘Left Behind’ Parents

Malky said she has received tips and help from people who believe they have spotted Shipenberg and David over the years. However, she said her quest has cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars and frustrated — experiences commonly shared “left behind” parents.

“You end up broke and physically and emotionally drained,” Malky said. “But I was — am still — determined.”

And lack of resources is an obstacle for parents in family abduction cases. Not everyone has the money to hire private investigators and communication firms to print fliers for their missing children. Often, as time passes and money dwindles, parents are forced to accept that they may never see their children again.

“Unless you really keep the pressure on police, really harass them, you won’t get the updates that you want on your case, and it’ll fall on the bottom of the pile,” said Morse. “You have to turn to private investigators but not everyone has those kind of resources.”

Malky said she never saw David’s abduction coming. His father never made any previous threats, and they had civil discussions about the custody and visitation arrangements.

“I didn’t see this coming. Usually they tell you that they’re going to take your child. I was never told,” said Malky. “But I tell you, all these cases are premeditated. They know where they’re going to go, where they’re going to hide.”

• Family Abduction Safeguards and Warning Signs? Read Below

AMBER Needed for Parental Abductions

New wireless child safety tracking devices have been developed that enable parents to trace the whereabouts of their children. The lightweight devices integrate digital technology from the Department of Defense’s Global Positioning System satellites to pinpoint children’s locations, and many child advocates believe they could prevent child abductions or at least help recover kidnapped children.


Still, more needs to be done. Experts say parental abduction victims need a program similar to the AMBER alert system, which was credited with helping law enforcement officials to rescue two California teenagers approximately 12 hours after they were abducted at gunpoint, and save an infant abducted from an Abilene, Texas, parking lot last week. Parental abductees have little, if any chance, of being considered for the AMBER alert system because the children’s lives are not considered endangered in most cases.

“The AMBER alert system is great, and they need to develop one for family abductions,” said Morse.

More may also need to be done in the courts when parents are trying to reach an agreement on visitation and custodial rights. Sometimes the early signs of a family abduction manifest during legal negotiations.

“The first instance or signs that people may abduct their children are likely seen in court,” said Hammer. “Maybe if more court officials are trained to pay more attention to certain risk factors, they can identify which child may be at risk and take action and fully inform parents what they face, what will happen if they do abduct their child.”

Child advocates also argue that there should be more severe punishment for parental child abductors — or at least they should be prosecuted to the law’s fullest extent. Stephen Fagan pleaded guilty in 1999 to kidnapping his two daughters, telling them their mother was dead and living under an assumed name for 20 years. He avoided jail time by agreeing to a deal that gave him five years’ probation, a $100,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service.

Barry and Judith Smiley kidnapped a baby after an attempted adoption of the infant was ruled invalid, and they lived for 22 years under an assumed name, raising the boy they called Matthew Propp as their own son. They avoided trial and possibly 25 years by agreeing to plead guilty to second-degree kidnapping in June. Barry Smiley received a two-to-six-year sentence while his wife Judith was sentenced to a six-month prison term and five years’ probation.

These plea deals, child advocates argue, make would-be parental abductors believe that they would not be risking anything if they kidnapped their children.

White House Weighing In

Many left-behind parents have complained that custody orders have not been readily enforceable when they locate a missing child. Often, they have had to hire two attorneys — one for each state — if the abducting parent has traveled to another state. As the filings go through the court system, the abducting parent may flee the state again without a trace, leaving the wronged parent back where they started, not knowing the whereabouts of a missing child.

According to the Department of Justice, California is the only state that requires district attorneys to take whatever civil remedies and criminal prosecutorial measures necessary to locate and recover children abducted by family members and to enforce child custody orders. In July 1997, the National Council of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws approved the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which contains a similar mandate. As of February 2001, 21 states had enacted UCCJEA, and it had been introduced to the legislatures in 10 other states.

Some change may begin with attention from the White House. President Bush has announced the White House would hold a first-ever conference on missing, exploited and runaway children in September. Held in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, the conference will focus on the prevention of child victimization, improving law enforcement policies for handling crimes against children, stranger abductions, and domestic and international parental kidnapping, among other topics.

‘Never an End’

Despite the time that has passed, and the fact that her son is now approaching his mid-30s, Marianne Malky is willing to do whatever it takes to find him. She said she plans to file lawsuits against the schools she suspects David has attended to force them to release his records.

If Malky finds her son, there is a possibility that he will not accept her. It happened to Barbara Kurth, the ex-wife of Stephen Fagan, when authorities tracked him down and prosecuted him for kidnapping. Even after learning that that their mother was not dead and that their father had lied to them for 20 years, Kurth’s daughters stayed by Fagan’s side. Afterwards, Fagan said he abducted the daughters because Kurth was neglecting them and abused alcohol, a claim she denied.

Still, knowing this, Malky remains determined.

“I know he has been told that I don’t care about him, that I don’t love him, but I’m not giving up,” Malky said. “Hopefully, I will win. … The feeling that I and many parents of children who have been abducted is not unlike those whose children have been killed, except that we never have an end. There’s never an end until you find your child.”

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Cyprus/Italy -Abducted child returned by airline

June 28, 2012

Source: CyprusMail

POLICE yesterday confirmed that on Tuesday a Ryanair flight from Paphos bound for Bergamo airport in Italy was forced to return an hour after take off, following information that one of the passengers had been kidnapped.

Police informed the pilot that the mother of a 10-year-old girl of Pontian origin had reported that her daughter had boarded the flight, with her father, against her will.

Once the complaint had been filed, police sought to prevent the flight from taking off by informing the control tower of the situation, but the flight had already left the runway.

The control tower informed the aircraft’s pilot of the situation, as according to International regulations, the pilot is solely responsible for any decisions taken during the flight.

The pilot confirmed that the named passengers were on board by checking the flight list and subsequently returned to Paphos airport.

On landing, the girl’s father was taken to the offices of Paphos airport police, while the girl was handed back to her mother.

Hermes airport spokesman Adam Aspris declined to comment on the matter only saying, “This is a security matter but I can confirm that the Ryanair flight in question had to return to Paphos airport, taking off again later.”

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Criminal prosecution can play a significant role in international child abduction cases


Criminal prosecution can play a significant role in international child abduction cases. However, it can be a double-edged sword. Some courts use the possibility of criminal prosecution against an abducting parent as a reason not to order a child’s return.

Interpol Notices

One of Interpol’s most important functions is to help police in member countries share critical crime-related information using the organization’s system of international notices.

Notices can be issued in cases of international child kidnapping.

The notices include:

Extradition Treaties Interpretation Act of 1998

18 USC § 3181


Congress finds that—

(1) each year, several hundred children are kidnapped by a parent in violation of law, court order, or legally binding agreement and brought to, or taken from, the United States;

(2) until the mid-1970’s, parental abduction generally was not considered a criminal offense in the United States;

(3) since the mid-1970’s, United States criminal law has evolved such that parental abduction is now a criminal offense in each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia;

(4) in enacting the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 (Public Law 103–173; 107 Stat. 1998; 18 U.S.C. 1204), Congress recognized the need to combat parental abduction by making the act of international parental kidnapping a Federal criminal offense;

(5) many of the extradition treaties to which the United States is a party specifically list the offenses that are extraditable and use the word ‘kidnapping’, but it has been the practice of the United States not to consider the term to include parental abduction because these treaties were negotiated by the United States prior to the development in United States criminal law described in paragraphs (3) and (4);

(6) the more modern extradition treaties to which the United States is a party contain dual criminality provisions, which provide for extradition where both parties make the offense a felony, and therefore it is the practice of the United States to consider such treaties to include parental abduction if the other foreign state party also considers the act of parental abduction to be a criminal offense; and

(7) this circumstance has resulted in a disparity in United States extradition law which should be rectified to better protect the interests of children and their parents.


For purposes of any extradition treaty to which the United States is a party, Congress authorizes the interpretation of the terms ‘kidnaping’ and ‘kidnapping’ to include parental kidnapping.

Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State:

The Possibility of Extradition

The United States Department of Justice, not the United States Department of State, is responsible for pursuing extradition of wanted persons. Through INTERPOL and other international links, national law enforcement authorities in many countries regularly cooperate in the location and apprehension of international fugitives.

Extradition, the surrender of a fugitive or prisoner by one jurisdiction for criminal prosecution or service of a sentence in another jurisdiction, is rarely a viable approach in international child abduction cases. Extradition is utilized only for criminal justice purposes in cases that prosecutors believe can be successfully prosecuted due to the sufficiency of the evidence. Prosecutors may decide not to proceed with a request for extradition for a number of different reasons. Moreover, it must be remembered that extradition does not apply to the abducted or wrongfully retained child, but only to the abductor. There is no guarantee that the child will be returned by foreign authorities in connection with extradition of the alleged wrongdoer. Threatened with impending extradition, abducting parents may hide the child or children with a friend or relative in the foreign country.

Another reason that extradition may not be useful in a given case is that the offenses of parental child abduction or custodial interference are sometimes not included in the U.S. Government’s extradition relationships with some foreign countries. The United States now has extradition treaties now in force at this point with over 120 foreign countries. Some of these are “dual criminality” treaties while others are “list” treaties. In each case, in order for conduct to be an extraditable offense under a particular treaty, the conduct in question must be (1) be extraditable under a given treaty, the conduct in question must be considered a crime in both countries, and (2) and also included as an extraditable offense under the treaty. In this respect, the United States Government has two kinds of extradition treaties, “dual criminality” and “list” treaties.

Dual Criminality Treaties: U.S. Government’s Most modern extradition treaties (i.e., generally those concluded after 1980) usually include a “dual criminality” provision. This means that persons generally may be extradited under the treaty if their conduct is a crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment in both countries.

As a result, if the illegal conduct involved in a particular parental child abduction or custodial interference case is a crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment in both the United States and the foreign jurisdiction country concerned, then that conduct would be considered an extraditable offense under most extradition treaties that are based on “dual criminality” extradition treaties. (A small number of the U.S. Government’s dual criminality treaties use periods other than one year as the measure for extraditable offenses.)

If the conduct is not criminalized a crime in either the United States or the foreign country, then it will not be an extraditable offense.even if our treaty with that country is a modern “dual criminality” treaty.

List Treaties: The U.S. Government’s older extradition treaties (generally those concluded before 1980) typically contain a list of covered offenses that are extraditable under the treaty. In this respect, nearly all of these older treaties include the word “kidnapping” in their list of covered extraditable offenses. The Extradition Treaties Interpretation Act of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-323) makes clear that the word “kidnapping” as used in these older treaties can encompass parental kidnapping. If, however, the conduct is not a crime criminalized in the United States or the foreign country, then it will not be an extraditable offense even if the word “kidnapping” is included in the relevant list treaty.

Despite the fact that parental child abduction may be covered by certain extradition treaties, you should be aware of potential difficulties in utilizing them. Apart from the possible counterproductive effects already discussed, specifically, most all civil law countries (in contrast with common law countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia) refuse to extradite their own nationals. Nearly all the nations of Latin America and Europe are civil law countries. Whatever the terms of any applicable extradition treaty, experience has also shown that foreign governments are generally reluctant (and often simply unwilling) to extradite anyone (their own citizens, United States citizens, or third country nationals) for parental child abduction.

For extradition to be possible, therefore:

· The local and/or federal prosecutor must decide to file charges and pursue the case, and you should be prepared to testify in any criminal trial;

· There must be an extradition treaty in force between the United States and the country in question;

· The treaty must cover parental child abduction or custodial interference;

· If the person sought is a national of the country in question, that country must be willing to extradite its own nationals; and,

· The country in question must be willing to extradite persons for parental child abduction /custodial interference (i.e., not refuse to do so for “humanitarian” or other policy reasons).

International Parental Kidnapping Act

The International Parental Kidnapping Act (18 USCA 1204), enacted in 1993, is an important component of the international family lawyer’s arsenal.

It makes it an offense to remove or attempt to remove a child who has been in the United States from the United States , or retain a child outside the United States, with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. The offense is punishable by a fine under Title 18, imprisonment for not more than three years, or both.

The statutory language is as follows:

18 U.S.C. § 1204. International parental kidnapping

(a) Whoever removes a child from the United States, or attempts to do so, or retains a child (who has been in the United States) outside the United States with intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both.

(b) As used in this section—

(1) the term “child” means a person who has not attained the age of 16 years; and

(2) the term “parental rights”, with respect to a child, means the right to physical custody of the child—

(A) whether joint or sole (and includes visiting rights); and

(B) whether arising by operation of law, court order, or legally binding agreement of the parties.

(c) It shall be an affirmative defense under this section that—

(1) the defendant acted within the provisions of a valid court order granting the defendant legal custody or visitation rights and that order was obtained pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and was in effect at the time of the offense;

(2) the defendant was fleeing an incidence or pattern of domestic violence; or

(3) the defendant had physical custody of the child pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation rights and failed to return the child as a result of circumstances beyond the defendant’s control, and the defendant notified or made reasonable attempts to notify the other parent or lawful custodian of the child of such circumstances within 24 hours after the visitation period had expired and returned the child as soon as possible.

(d) This section does not detract from The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction, done at The Hague on October 25, 1980.

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How To Spot Signs Of Potential Parental Kidnapping

Source: Garett Law Group

As indicated by the Department of Justice, around 200,000 kids are subjects of parental kidnapping year after year. Six percent of such parental kidnapping incidents are open for six months or longer. Regrettably, some never have been closed at all.

This is a incredible, albeit sobering, fact. The individual who a parent should be able to trust with their children, the other parent, their spouse, can also grow to be so cold and callous as to betray the trust of not only their significant other, but the trust of their own child!

Parental kidnapping does not just up and happen out of the blue. Certainly, the crime itself may come as a shock to most, however you can always find issues that produce the parent’s feeling of desperation and those examples are most always the effect of a recent divorce, as well as loss of the child as a result of a child custody hearing.

What is Parental Kidnapping, Exactly?

To determine parental kidnapping, the parental right of child custody must be discussed first. The reason being is the parent that is determined by the judge as the child’s legal guardian and/or granted child custody, can by law take that child anywhere they desire within reason.

Child custody starts and ends with the true biological parents of a child. Void of any unique mitigating factors, parents can make almost all decisions involving how, and in addition where, they opt to rear their child. The parent has the legal standing to choose the child’s education, their healthcare, religion and the topic at hand, location of the child’s home. The laws are quite clear and parents do not need to petition the court for legal right to make one of these selections regarding their child.

The issues that reflect back regarding parental kidnapping and which parent is the victim surrounds those particular mitigating issues. Of which, there are several. Although these factors could be a parent’s ability to make these selections, both legally and rationally, has come under question due to their mental capacity, or even their physical capacity. For example if one parent was experiencing dementia, or was in the penitentiary, stationed in a foreign country, etc. In this sort of situation, attorneys would ask the family court for a child custody hearing. The complexities could be limitless, however it typically involves just one – divorce.

Parental Kidnapping and The Role Divorce Plays;

Divorces concerning child custody are as challenging and complex as any suit which has. In cases pertaining to custody of the children, lives are held in the balance. The destiny of a child, as well as the absolute heartbreaking loss of one of the two parents taking part lies directly at the feet of the judge. Custody is a significant hearing in the lives of families concerned.

When a divorce has been filed, the divorce attorneys for both parties will talk about child custody, may it be joint custody or sole custody, visitation rights, financial obligations, health care insurance coverage for the child, child support and numerous additional details still to be haggled over in family court. Unfortunately, when there is no common agreements made regarding joint custody between the mother and father, one will certainly walk out of court having lost their entire family with one stroke of a pen.

Having lost legal custody of the child, the parent has a diminished legal right to make selections in connection with the rearing of that child. From that moment on, any right of that parent is permitted primarily depending on any stipulations decided on by the parties, divorce lawyers and ordered by the court. This may often be more emotional distress than a person might tolerate. It is this experience which could very well stimulate this usually reasonable and rational person to commit a totally illogical and non-rational offense – parental kidnapping.

When, one parent, voluntarily and knowingly takes a child with the aim to deny the custodial parent of their legal rights specified under the judge’s order of child custody, has committed the crime of parental kidnapping. It matters in no way what county, what city, nor what state somebody suspected of parental kidnapping might go. Under the federal laws that oversee such cases, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act rigorously enforces the child custody decision made by the judge of any and all states. Every state will value, uphold and honor the child custody decision of another state.

What to Watch For;

If you, or somebody you know or cherish has recently, is presently suffering through a divorce which entail child custody, there are particular warning signs you, or they, have to be on the lookout for to possibly avoid being, and the child being, the victim of parental kidnapping. Through the procedure, if a parent starts to reveal the appearance of not being emotionally, or mentally intact as they once were, advise your divorce lawyer of this and let it be known and documented. The person might indeed be in need of mental help or counseling to be able to better manage the events unfolding beyond their control. It is logical, though having said that, be on guard.

An additional signal to look out for is after the proceedings have all happened and things have to some degree calmed down, the parent begins returning the child from visitation later than arranged. It is wise to have your divorce lawyer make the periods of visitation recorded in the court papers. Each party should recognize and agree on these times and they should be respected and enforced. If the time of return begins to be an issue, politely remind them of the order of the court and call your divorce attorney and ask his or her guidance on the problem at once.

Anytime the parent says or does something that remotely implies there may be a concern, or if they ever threaten in anyway the possibility of not returning the child, or “taking the child away and you never see them again”, without delay end all contact with the parent and promptly call your divorce attorney and the police. Never take this sort of threat as a joke and never allow your child go away with the parent unsupervised again. Have your divorce attorney ask the judge for the visitation rights to be suspended and/or supervised.

In The Event Of Parental Kidnapping;

Should the parent has left with your child without any reason that you weren’t made previously aware of, there might be an issue and you need to start calling the other parent immediately. After a couple of phone calls and no reply and no return phone call, call law enforcement and have them go to the parent’s house to check things out. Don’t go by yourself! Anything might happen when dealing with someone perhaps volatile. At the first indication of parental kidnapping, call the police. The faster the authorities can start working on the case, the better the likelihood of a speedy reunion with you and your child.

Typically, the wronged parent does not want to believe their ex might be capable of parental kidnapping. It is this refusal that allows critical minutes and hours tick away and the child to get further and further away from home. Again, parental kidnapping occurs 200,000 times each year, according to the Dept. of Justice. Take notice, be on guard, do not tolerate threats and your child won’t become 200,001.

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Ireland: Department handled up to 200 child abduction cases

Source: Irishtimes

INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL child abduction cases involving almost 200 children were dealt with by the Department of Justice last year.

The department’s central authority for child abduction received 142 new applications last year, some involving more than one child.

This is the highest level of new cases since the authority was established almost 20 years ago and is two more cases than 2010.

Almost two-thirds (89) of the new cases concerned children being taken from the State to other countries.

Over two-thirds of these cases involved children taken from the State to the UK; 39 to England and Wales; 12 to Scotland; and 10 to Northern Ireland.

Eastern European countries accounted for more than a tenth of outgoing cases, most of these to Poland.

Children being taken to the State from the UK accounted for half of incoming abductions while Eastern European countries accounted for almost a third.

There were also 119 ongoing cases from previous years being dealt with by the department bringing the total to 261 applications.

Half of the incoming and outgoing abduction cases being dealt with were awaiting resolution.

Most of the cases were being dealt with under the Hague Convention with some under EU laws on child abduction.

The convention facilitates the return of children taken from one state to another against the wishes of a parent with custody rights.

Minister for Justice urged parents to take all steps to resolve differences. “Parental child abduction remains a constant problem. When family conflict occurs, it is important that estranged parents and spouses exhaust all their options to resolve differences and reach agreement in the best interests of the children involved,” he said.

Also read: 198 children here targeted in abductions

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Jon Gulbrandsen / Norske ruiner i utvalg – Et kritisk søkelys på domstolene

Kilde: Jon Gulbrandsen / Bortfø

Kanskje er Jon Gulbrandsens bok “Norske ruiner i utvalg” et tegn på at forlagene nå er i ferd med å innse behovet for et kritisk søkelys på domstolene? Gulbrandsen hevder at de mest notoriske lovbryterne her i landet er dommere. Dette har nok mange før ham fornemmet, uten at de har greid å sette ord på det, like elegant som Gulbrandsen har gjort.

Den kanskje sterkeste beretningen er forfatterens eget møte med det norske rettsvesenet, som overlot barna hans til en alvorlig sinnssyk mor og slik ødela en hel familie, etter alt å dømme av politiske årsaker.  En familie som før hendelsen besto av to suksessrike akademikere og to veltilpassede barn.  Det hører også med til historien at hele statsapparatet, fra rettsvesen, helsevesen, barnevern til NAV, fraskriver seg ethvert ansvar for en historie de selv har vært hovedaktører i.

I sin essaysamling “Norge mitt Norge” stilte Jens Bjørneboe spørsmålet: Har juristene sjel? Offentlig kritikk av dommerstanden døde ut omtrent samtidig som Bjørneboe døde i 1976, til tross for at det er mye å kritisere.

I Norge tas ikke rettssakene opp på lydbånd eller video. Man bruker heller ikke stenografer. Når en rettssak er over, så er det ingen som kan gå inn å sjekke hva vitnene fortalte. Hvorfor er det slik? Fritz Moen-saken er det eneste kjente tilfelle av dobbelt justismord i Europa. Er det tilfeldig at vi har en slik ekkel Europarekord?

Forfatterens egen historie burde alene være nok til å så tvil om den norske statsforfatningen, og da spesielt rettsvesenet, men forfatteren går videre, og sannsynliggjør at denne typen rettsavgjørelser langt fra er uvanlige, men tvert om danner normen i norsk rettspraksis. Syphilia Morgenstierne (alias Mari Toft), kommenterer bokens kapittel 2 med å si at forfatteren “har levert en helt sensasjonelt god og personlig og oppsiktsvekkende beretning, ikke fordi opplevelsen er enestående, men nettopp fordi den har generell gyldighet og samtidig er personlig skrevet og med intelligens og humor, og utrolig nok blottet for offerets selvmedlidenhet selv om det er uhyggelige ting han beskriver.”

Den samme opplevelsen sitter igjen etter å ha lest også de andre kapitlene i boken, enten det gjelder Norges høyst fortjente jumboplass innenfor skole, forskning og næringsliv, eller det gjelder kirkens tanketomme og selvtilfredse utlegginger av åndelige sannheter. Forfatteren plasserer ansvaret primært hos norske politikere, sekundært hos en del interessegrupper, men legger også noe av skylden på den norske folkesjelen.  Men han stopper ikke med dette; det foreslås konkrete og til tider konstitusjonelle løsninger, både i deler av kapittel 1 og i slutten av kapittel 4.

Boken anbefales varmt til alle som er samfunnsengasjerte, og spesielt til politikere og jurister, enn skjønt det sier seg selv at de to siste neppe vil stå først i bokkøen. Her er noen utdrag fra Norske ruiner i utvalg:

“Hydrodirektøren som takket nei til et forskningssamarbeid med Boeing hadde forresten et økenavn blant de ansatte; de kalte ham ‘Teller’n’, fordi alt han kom over, skulle telles.  Øyensynlig var han av den oppfatning at dersom et problem først kunne omgjøres til tall, så kunne det senere også løses ved hjelp av en kalkulator.  Oppfatningen synes å være rådende blant både økonomer og organ-isasjonsteoretikere, og i dag finnes disse overalt i samfunnet, til og med i militæret, hvor de ivrigste allerede har rukket å havne i historiebøkene.  Mest kjent er Robert McNamaras forsøk på å legge strategien for Vietnam-krigen med de samme metodene han hadde ledet Ford Motor Company.  “Etter alle målbare størrelser vinner vi denne krigen,” konkluderte han, etter å ha vært på lynvisitt i Sør-Vietnam med notatblokk og regnestav.

Denne noe underlige trosretningen kalles på engelsk for ‘New Public Management’, men på norsk er den kjent som ‘MRS’ eller ‘Mål og Resultat Styring’.  Hele den norske statsforvaltningen er underlagt dette systemet, og er i hovedsak forklaringen på suksessen til slike etater som NSB, Jernbaneverket, NAV og UDI.  Tidligere universitetsdirektør Hanne Harlem er også en av dem som bekjenner seg til tellemetoden, blant annet skulle hun telle seg frem til hvor godt Universitetet i Oslo fungerte ved hjelp av en 24-punkters liste over tellbare mål.  Her er tre av dem; 1) Studenter pr vitenskapelig årsverk pr år.  2) Antall omvisninger av skoleklasser og 3) Andel kvinner i faste vitenskapelige stillinger.   Resultatet vil sikkert etter hvert bli både flere kvinnelige ansatte og flere besøkende skoleklasser, men flere Nobelpriser blir det neppe.  Men det var vel heller ikke hensikten.  I alle fall flykter talentene gjerne til utlandet, slik Terje Lohndal gjorde, da han meldte overgang fra Universitetet i Oslo til University of Maryland.  Men UiOs rektor, Ole Petter Ottersen, beroliger med at “Vi kan ikke på død og liv holde på alle talenter” (Aftenposten, 28. januar 2010).

Heller ikke sykehus eller barnehager slipper unna disse menneskene; studenter og barn så vel som pasienter skal nå betraktes som ‘kunder’ og driften skal kvalitetssikres gjennom kursing i internfakturering, prosjektstyring og bestiller/utfører modeller.  Resultatet er blant annet at St. Hanshaugen i Oslo legger ned et SFO-tilbud for funksjonshemmede barn og at Helse Førde nedprioriterer ortopedipasienter fra eget fylke.  Sven Bue Berger og Jon Bolstad gir oss begrunnelsene: “Kundegrunnlaget er ikke godt nok” og “Pasienter fra eget fylke genererer mindre inntekter enn pasienter fra andre fylker“.  Igjen er det bokførerlogikken og revisorvisjonene som skal forme fremtiden vår, og ikke forstand, kreativitet eller hjertelag.

Likevel kan symptomene noen ganger til forveksling minne om det motsatte, som da UDI saboterte sin egen politiske ledelse og lot 200 irakere få bli i Norge.  Hjertelag?  Slett ikke – utvalget som gransket saken ga denne forklaringen: UDI hadde ikke hørt på politikerne sine, fordi de fulgte MRS-rutiner i stedet, blant annet ved at de hadde et “ensidig fokus på produksjon og saksavvikling” (Dagbladet, 27. januar 2007).

På den andre siden har domstolene helt på egen hånd utviklet et skrekkregime som bryter radikalt med alminnelige folks rettsfølelse, men når de i tillegg begår regulære lovbrudd, kan det være betimelig å spekulere over mulige motiver.  Tore Sandbergs henvisninger til skifteretten antyder økonomiske motiver, men dette er neppe tilfellet i privat- eller strafferettslige saker, så motivene må være flere.

Kvinnerettslige hensyn er en annen aktuell kandidat, kanskje spesielt i barnefordelingssaker, noe som også sannsynliggjør politiske motiver.  Dette styrkes av et forhold som påtales av statsviter og professor ved Universitetet i Bergen, Gunnar Grendstad, som gjennom et forskningsprosjekt har avdekket at Høyesterettsdommere som er utnevnt av Arbeiderpartiet, har en tendens til å dømme i favør av staten og å sette individuelle menneskelige hensyn til side.  Grendstad utdyper det på denne måten: “Høyesterett kan betraktes som et politisk organ når den i siste instans avgjør vinnere og tapere i kampen om ressurser og rettigheter i samfunnet.”   Stoltenberg II-regjeringens forsøk på å etterlikne norske redere for 21 milliarder kroner led nederlag i Høyesterett, men det er interessant å merke seg at de fem dommerne som stemte for regjeringens standpunkt, alle var utnevnt av Arbeiderpartiet (Aftenposten, 13. februar 2010).  I dette ligger politikernes kanskje aller største bedrag, nemlig forestillingen om at statsmakten er delt mellom Storting, Regjering og Domstoler, et bedrag så grovt at det faktisk er gjengitt i samtlige av skolens lærebøker, og får lov til å stå der.

Men hva da med de tilfellene hvor dommere begår overlagte justismord eller frikjenner like overlagte lovbrytere?  Kvinnepolitiske hensyn kan her bare forklare et fåtall av saker, slik som når fedre dømmes for overgrep mot barn på grunnlag av påstander fra mødre som vil skilles.

Med referanse til frikjenning av råkjørere, er det i eksempelet foran godtgjort at lovbryteren var millionær og tilhørte samfunnets øverste kretser.  I tillegg kommer de berømte stortingspensjonistene, hvor Kjell Magne Bondeviks sak blir henlagt, mens en kvinne fra Alta under identiske forhold blir dømt (Aftenposten, 10. mars 2009).  Med dette er kriteriene for kameraderi også på plass.  Alternativet er god gammeldags dumhet, men dette er vel det eneste seleksjonen av dommere kan garantere at det ikke er.  Kameraderi blir dermed den tredje kandidaten.

Men hvordan klarer dommere å idømme straff når den dømte verken er skyldig eller er motpart til verken kvinner eller kamerater?  Antakelig er noen av disse tilfellene et resultat av jussens noe særegne form for logikk, slik som i Tengs-saken, men både egne og andres observasjoner (eksempelvis sorenskriver Carl-Hugo Lunds rapport) indikerer at det også kan ligge et element av maktberuselse i hva de foretar seg.  Frekvensen av aggressive følelsesutbrudd hos dommere i retten er påtakelig og kan være en indikasjon på at rettssalene i stor grad brukes til å utøve dominans, og ikke til objektive avveiinger av argumenter, slik fru Justitia skal gjøre.  Fenomenet er alminnelig kjent, også utenfor landets grenser, og later til å være et karaktertrekk hos historiens mest beryktede dommere, slik som den fremtredende tyske juristen, dr. Roland Freisler.  Kandidat fire og fem blir dermed de noe ulne begrepene juss og maktberuselse, men la oss for enkelthets skyld kalle det jussrus.”

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Fra “Norske ruiner i utvalg” tilbake til Jens Bjørneboes spørsmål: Har juristene sjel?

Bjørneboe skriver: “Ja, de har sjel, men den er annerledes enn hos andre mennesker, i og med at juristers rettsbegrep ikke som hos vanlige folk er knyttet til moral, eller: “Rett-og-Rettferdighet”, men til helt underordnede, faglige detaljspørsmål. Det angår hele landet at visse strafferettslige reformerer er nødvendige, – bare unntatt én befolkningsgruppe: Nemlig juristene!”

Les også: De fleste, men hva med de andre
Norske ruiner i utvalg kan kjøpes hos og

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One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

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NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

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Three Abducted Montana Children found safe on sailboat off Florida coast

Source: Daily Mail

Three Montana children were found safe after apparently living on a 40-foot sailboat off the coast of Florida since they were abducted by their father in August, according to authorities. 

The Bryant children, Megan, 15, Maxwell, 13 and Sebastian, 12, went to visit their father James Bryant in South Florida for the summer and were never returned to their mother in Belgrade, Montana.

She reported them missing in August. When police checked local marinas, they were told James Bryant’s boat, the Night Dragon, had set sail in July with Bryant, his children, and his new wife aboard.

James Bryant
Alyssa Bryant
Going home: James Bryant, 44, (left) was arrested and will be extradited back to Montana after he was found with his three children, including Megan, 15 (right)
Maxwell Bryant
Sebastian Bryant

Found safe: Maxwell, 13, (left) and Sebastian, 12, (right) spent the fall and winter on their father’s 40-foot sailboat after he allegedly abducted them and their sister

The children were last heard from August 17, when Sebastian called a friend in Billings, Montana, from a phone in West Palm Beach, Florida, and said he was excited to return home to his mother.

None of the children’s cell phones were used again.

Authorities feared that Bryant might head for the Bahamas or Puerto Rico to hide out.

On Tuesday, a flyover by a US Customs and Border Protection aircrew spotted a 40-foot sailboat about 30 miles off the coast of Pompano Beach.

The 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Okracoke intercepted the craft and discovered James Bryant and the three children, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

A dog, a cat, a snake and a lizard were also found aboard the boat.

They arrested James Bryant on a felony warrant for parenting interference that was issued by a Montana judge in September.

After the children were reported missing, Florida authorities and the FBI began the hunt for James Bryant and his Night Dragon boat.

‘A suspected kidnapper has been apprehended without incident,’ Coast Guard Capt Chris Scraba told the Sun-Sentinel.

‘A mother will have her three children safely returned to her unharmed.’

Authorities say James Bryant is slated to be extradited back to Montana to face charges.

The children were turned over the the Broward County Sheriff’s Office so they can be reunited with their mother and make the 2,600 mile trek back to Montana.
Read more:

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Carjacking Facts – Robbery Prevention Advice

Source: crimedoctor

Carjacking is Robbery

Carjacking is the violent form of motor vehicle theft. It is a serious threat to our personal safety because the thief uses force and fear to rob our car from us. Sometimes the car owner or other occupants are kidnapped during a carjacking, and if lucky will be dropped off nearby unharmed. The worst case scenario occurs when you are transported to a secondary crime scene, which is usually more dangerous than the original confrontation. Those not so lucky victims have suffered other crimes like rape, aggravated assault, and even homicide.

Since the mid-1980s, carjacking has captured the attention of the media with reports of these sudden and violent attacks. Carjackers have unknowingly driven off with infants still in the backseat of the car, leaving behind a screaming and emotionally distressed parent. Other drivers have been violently pulled out of their seats and left lying on the road, terrified by what just occurred.

The crime of carjacking can be traumatic to our everyday lives because it creates fear in the common act of driving a car. Victims of carjacking have reported being unable to drive a car again while others required months of therapy. Others have become so hypersensitive, that embarrassing and dangerous situations have arisen in response to their fear when someone unwittingly approached their car on foot.

How Carjacking Got Started

Carjacking has always been around, especially in large metropolitan cities, we just rarely read about it. The crime of carjacking “took off” in the 1980s after the media published stories of bizarre situations and the violence associated with the crime. The media coined the phrase “carjacking” and the crime of auto theft took on a new identity. After a rush of publicity, other criminals “copied” the crime of carjacking. These copycat criminals must have said, “Hey, I can steal any vehicle I want without damaging it, I get the car keys, and I can rob the owner too. What a concept!”

Another reason carjacking got started is because of the sophistication and prevalence of new anti-theft devices and alarm systems. New car alarms and steering wheel locking systems made it tougher on the auto thief. Chip-integrated ignition switches, engine cutoff devices, and stolen vehicle locators are now more common in cars. Unfortunately for us, poorly motivated and unskilled car thieves have adapted by becoming more violent to get the cars they need and don’t think twice about using force against us.

Sometimes criminals will carjack a vehicle for use in another crime like armed robbery or for a drive-by shooting. These carjackers prefer to have a set of car keys and not have a visibly smashed window or damaged ignition switch that can be easily spotted by the police. This class of car thief is the most dangerous because they are usually heavily armed and are not concerned with your welfare.

How Often Does Carjacking Occur

National carjacking statistics are not available. However, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)* made a telephone assessment of 221,000 households from 1992-1996 to gain an understanding of the extent of the carjacking problem. The biggest problem of tracking carjacking incidents is current police agency reporting practices. Most criminal codes have not adopted this new crime type nor do they track it statistically. Most police jurisdictions charge the crime of carjacking as a robbery since force or fear was used to steal the vehicle directly for the owner. Many police agencies record multiple charges like aggravated robbery, auto theft, assault, battery to one event but usually only the first charge (robbery) gets indexed and statistically tracked. Some jurisdictions charge the crime of carjacking as only an auto theft since a vehicle was stolen.

Since the crime of carjacking is not indexed in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, it is unlikely that we will soon see a national statistic on frequency that is generated from police reports. What we have to work with is the NCVS telephone survey as the source of our data.

From the study of 1992-1996, the NCVS learned that each year 49,000 carjackings and attempts occur in the United States. About half of the reported carjackings were failed attempts. Of the completed carjackings, 92% had weapons where only 75% were armed during the failed attempts. Unfortunately, this statistic tells us that carjackers must be armed to be taken seriously by victims. A handgun was the weapon of choice followed by a knife. Males were responsible for 97% of the carjackings and attempts and were usually carried out by either one or two perpetrators.

Where Does Carjacking Occur

Carjacking can occur anywhere, but is largely a big city problem like traditional auto theft. See my web site on auto theft facts for more information.

Carjacking occurs most often in a busy commercial area where cars are parked and when the owner is entering or exiting the parked vehicle. Most carjackings or attempts (65%) occur within five miles of the victim’s home. The carjacker wants the keys readily available and the car door unlocked for a quick getaway. Carjackers tend to rob lone victims more often (92%), for obvious reasons. According to the NCVS, men were victimized more often than women, blacks more than whites; Hispanics, more than non-Hispanics; and divorced, separated, or never married more than married or widowed. This trend is not surprising given the fact that younger single males tend to take more chances and go to higher risk locations than do married persons. It is unclear whether household income or the value of the vehicle is a criterion in carjacking as the statistics are spread throughout the income levels. However the $35,000 to $50,000 income range had a slightly higher carjack victim frequency.

Surprisingly, the NCVS study indicates that 64% of the daytime carjackings were actually completed, while less than half of those at night were completed. This may be reflective of who is being victimized and who is out at night. About 62% of all carjacking victims took some form of action to defend themselves or their property. Victims were injured about 20% of the time in completed carjackings and about 16% during attempts. Although the statistics aren’t clear, each year about 27 homicides are reported related to auto theft. Also interesting is that 100% of the completed carjack victims called the police, whereas only 57% called to report an attempt carjacking. This variable in reporting is probably related to the desire to get their property back and for insurance purposes.

Popular carjacking locations are parking lots, shopping centers, gas stations, car washes, convenience stores, ATMs, hotels, valet parking, fast-food drive-thru, and outside of retail stores. Close proximity to a freeway onramp is a desirable escape factor from the carjackers prospective. A risky, but popular location for the carjacker is a roadway intersection with a stoplight. A carjacker will jump out of another vehicle, pull open your unlocked drivers’ door, and force you to get out. The type of carjacking allows for a quick escape but increases their risk of being followed by other drivers armed with cell phones. There have been incidents where well-meaning citizens got into a high-speed chase following carjackers and ended up being victims themselves.

The “Bump” and Carjack

Another copycat scheme used by carjackers is to bump your car from behind to get you to pull over and stop. We have all been trained to always stop following an auto accident to exchange license and insurance information. What a perfect scenario for a carjacker!

The carjacker, and his accomplice, will follow the intended victim to a suitable location with good escape routes and few witnesses. The carjacker will crash into the back of your vehicle at low speed and “bump” you with enough force to make you believe a traffic accident had just occurred. Beware of the Good Samaritan. Typically, the drivers of both vehicles pull over, stop, and get out discussing the damage. At this point the carjacker robs you of your vehicle, its’ contents, and drives away. The carjacker’s car gets driven away by the accomplice. Hopefully you won’t be injured during the exchange.

What Should You Do?

Carjacking of parked vehicles depends on the car owner being inattentive to their surroundings. Carjackers, like street robbers, prefer the element of surprise. Most victims say they never saw the carjacker until they appeared at their car door. To reduce your risk of being carjacked, I have listed some common sense steps below:

  • Always park in well-lighted areas, if you plan to arrive/leave after dark
  • Don’t park in isolated or visually obstructed areas near walls or heavy foliage
  • Use valet parking or an attended garage, if you’re a woman driving alone
  • As you walk to your car be alert to suspicious persons sitting in cars
  • Ask for a security escort if you are alone at a shopping center
  • Watch out for young males loitering in the area (handing out flyers, etc)
  • If someone tries to approach, change direction or run to a busy store
  • Follow your instincts if they tell you to walk/run away to a busy place
  • As you approach your vehicle, look under, around, and inside your car
  • If safe, open the door, enter quickly, and lock the doors
  • Don’t be a target by turning your back while loading packages into the car
  • Make it your habit to always start your car and drive away immediately
  • Teach and practice with your children to enter and exit the car quickly
  • In the city, always drive with your car doors locked and windows rolled up
  • When stopped in traffic, leave room ahead to maneuver and escape, if necessary
  • If you are bumped in traffic, by young males, be suspicious of the accident
  • Beware of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car or a flat tire. It’s okay to get help, just be alert
  • Wave to follow, and drive to a gas station or busy place before getting out
  • If you are ever confronted by an armed carjacker don’t resist
  • Give up your keys or money if demanded without resistance
  • Don’t argue, fight or chase the robber. You can be seriously injured
  • Never agree to be kidnapped. Drop the cars keys and run and scream for help
  • If you are forced to drive, consider crashing your car near a busy intersection to attract attention so bystanders can come to your aid and call the police
  • Call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information

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